The Seven - Thousand Year Miracle (Part 1)
John Heading, Aberystwyth
by tj us title, we do not intend to be too specific; we merely refer to the years often found printed at the top of pages of the Old Testament, to the years that have passed since the Lord Jesus was here on earth, and to the one thousand years referred to in Revelation 20. 5.
The miracles accomplished by the Lord during His ministry on earth were instantaneous, complete and lasting. There was no such thing as an extended period over which there was an attempt at healing, no such thing as a half-completed miracle, and no such thing as a lapse into the same kind of ill-health again.
The title of our article refers to something quite different. For in the past, present and future there is an ongoing purpose of God which Satan seeks to thwart, but which at every stage the mighty power of God is seen in triumph as infinitely superior to Satan's power, even if from a human point of view Satan seems to have triumphed for a short season.
Part of this ongoing miracle is found in the royal genealogy of the Lord Jesus recorded in Matthew 1. 1-16. However, parts of the miracle predate the first name, Abraham, Other names of kings who had their part in the miracle are omitted in this genealogy. The life, and subsequent crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord are naturally not found in the genealogy, neither are the centuries of church history, nor anything of a prophetic nature that is of relevance to our subject. For we refer to the purpose of God that, from Adam onwards, there should be a genealogical line leading to the Lord Jesus, that by His death redemption should be available to all by faith, and that the Lord ultimately should be manifested as 'King of kings, and Lord of lords', Rev. 19. 16.
Satan's activity, whether openly or covertly using apparently quite natural circumstances on occasions, commenced at the beginning where he first appeared on the scene, Gen. 3. I, and terminates at the end, Rev. 20. 10. But between these two events separated by the seven thousand years (we are not dogmatic on this number of years) we can trace this activity, noting how God dealt with it at every stage so that His will should be done concerning the Person and work of I lis Son the Lord Jesus. The maintenance of this will, come what may from Satan's hand, constitutes the marvellous miracle that we consider throughout these articles, commencing with Old Testament. We divide this stage into four parts.
From Adam to Abraham
Consider a complicated family tree growing upwards. Once its details are known, it is easy to trace it backwards; that is what Luke did in Luke 3. 23-38. But it is impossible for mere man to trace such a tree into the future. Yet God could see forwards; 'With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible', Mark 10. 27. Thus at the time of Adam, God could look forwards through Abraham, David, the kings, up to Christ the King of the Jews (namely right along the royal line), including His death, and the prophetic future. The top of the tree was known from the beginning; so much of it is now contained in the Scriptures, both past and future. Moreover Satan knew much of this, particularly when written in the Scriptures for he could read, Matt. 4. 6. But we doubt whether he knew all the details of the royal line before such men were established as kings in Jerusalem. Yet he knows the future concerning himself as already written, for example, in Revelation 20. 1-3, 10.
As soon as man and woman were created upon the earth already prepared for them, Satan attacked. I le knew that the forthcoming Christ as Saviour and King would have to be derived from Adam, as far as the flesh is concerned. So he was able to introduce corruption, sin and death, no doubt thinking that such features could be passed on to the promised seed, but he reckoned without the virgin birth and the miracle of the incarnation that ensured that Christ would be divinely and morally perfect although 'made of the seed of David according to the flesh', Rom. 1. 3. God had warned Adam that 'thou shalt surely die', Gen. 2. 17, so Satan hoped that this would put an end to God's plans if Eve (and hence Adam) could be tempted to partake of the forbidden tree. To assist in the temptation, Satan contradicted God's words by saying 'Ye shall not surely die', 3. 4. Yet though death now passed on to all men, and as in Adam all die, God's will could not be thwarted, for God spoke of 'her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel', 3. 15. Eve would indeed bring forth children, though not in perfection until the Perfect Ore should come forth. Satan's initial act had therefore been overcome, though redemption could not be accomplished until blood was shed at Calvary.
Even the birth process itself might be used in Satan's attempt to break the unique line that was now to lead to Christ. Babes might be stillborn, but in God's watchful care never those babes who were designated to be in the royal line. So Cain and Abel were safely delivered, and Satan watched to see what would happen to them, abiding his time to destroy the seed. It was obvious that God had Abel in His special favour, evidently because he brought an offering of the firstlings of his flock. Gen. 4. 4. It would almost appear that Cain was in league with Satan, since John wrote, 'Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one', 1 John 3. 12. Cain therefore slew Abel his brother, and Cain was now 'cursed from the earth', 4. 11, so not likely to be in the royal line. However, God's purpose was not to be thwarted, and Eve bore another son, Seth, who would be in the royal genealogy.
As the number of men multiplied upon the earth, it was not obvious where the royal line was to be found. Admittedly it is recorded in Genesis 5. 3-32, but this was written afterwards, so Satan had to devise an overall scheme to eliminate the line by ensuring that 'all flesh had corrupted' God's way upon the earth, 6. 12. He rightly estimated God's reaction, to destroy man whom He had created from the face of the earth, v. 7. But he reckoned without the saving grace of God. Of course, Noah was a sinner, but God counted him as 'a just man and perfect in his generations', and he walked with God, v, 9. Thus he was saved by means of the ark that he made at the command of God. He 'became heir of the righteousness which is by faith', Heb. 11. 7. Thus a small remnant of a family was saved from the flood, and the royal line had to pass through this family. Noah's later folly with a vine and with drunkenness led to the blessing falling upon his son Shem, who therefore perpetuated the royal line, 9. 26, in keeping with God's will.
to be continued